Kim M.

DIY Upcycled Pump Pack

I have always loved to sew and be crafty, so it’s no surprise that Kaitlyn shares my love for sewing. She gets excited whenever I get my machine out and begs to help with whatever project I’m working on. She has done quite a few of her own projects, too. She and her sister made their own pieced quilt, she’s fixed and mended many of her dress-up clothes, and she’s made doll clothes for many of her stuffed animals.

The other day, she came up with another awesome craft idea. She came to me with one of her old pump packs that we absolutely love. Although we really love this one and have bought many over the last few years, they tend to wear out with everyday use. This particular pack had fabric that was completely stretched out and dirty and had a big hole through the bottom. She noticed that the fabric used in the pack was the same material that swimsuits are made of. She got so excited and said, “Mom! Let’s make pump packs out of my old swimsuits!”

Being from California and having a swimming pool in our backyard, we go through A LOT of swimsuits! They’re always getting stretched out and needing to be thrown away, so when Kaitlyn had an idea for how to repurpose them instead, I was all for it!

It took some fiddling, but this is what we came up with. You can make it with or without a sewing machine. Kaitlyn and I absolutely love this design, because it doesn’t have any uncomfortable buckles or zippers. The pump stays secure because it is held tight between the layers of folded fabric, but it’s also quick and easy to access. Simply reach your hand in between the folds and pull it out! The pack is especially great for sleeping in, and every one that you make will be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. It’s super fun to make, completely free, and only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. I hope you’ll give it a try!

What You'll Need

  • Old swimsuit
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or sewing machine

How To Make It

  1. Old Swimsuit

    Find an old swimsuit. (A leotard, rash guard, exercise top, or any especially stretchy shirt would work just as well.)

  2. Cut a strip about 8 to 9 inches wide across the swimsuit, so that when you open it, it’s a large circular band of fabric. If you have a sewing machine or serger, finish the cut ends of the fabric to make a nice edge. If you don’t have a machine, just leave it alone—swimsuit fabric generally doesn’t fray.

  3. Fold the strip in half and then in half again, so that your band is now about 2 inches wide and four layers thick. Holding the four layers of fabric together, sew two seams from the top to the bottom of the band, about 5 inches apart, on the area you want to be the front of the band. To add the seams without sewing, simply tie a ribbon around the fabric layers instead. Either way, the two seams create a pocket for the pump. You can actually make as many pockets as you like (perhaps a second pocket for a continuous glucose monitor) simply by tying ribbon or sewing rows of stiches at 5-inch intervals around the band.

  4. That’s it! You’re done! Have your child step into the band and pull it up to his or her waist like a pair of pants. Then put the pump inside the layers of fabric between the two seams.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.